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New Signs In Manchester, NH Say Give To Charity, Not Panhandlers

MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS/AP) — Signs across Manchester are warning the public that "Your generosity could lead to a fatality."

Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard said the signs are meant to discourage people from giving money to panhandlers, who may then spend the money on drugs.

manchester new hampshire panhandling sign
One of the signs Manchester, NH put up to discourage panhandling. (WBZ-TV)

"Ask yourself, in your generosity, the spirit of giving, when you give somebody five dollars--would you be okay if that five dollars was a fatal overdose for the person who took it, used drugs, and then overdosed and died from it?" he said.

The signs have been placed in areas that panhandlers often frequent.

manchester new hampshire panhandling sign
A panhandler in Manchester, NH stands below a sign discouraging panhandling (WBZ-TV)
Chief Willard said police records show that 24 people involved in panhandling overdosed from 2015 to June 1 of this year; six of them died.

Drivers who give money to panhandlers could face a citation.

"Even if they're not addicted to drugs, they're panhandling for alcohol, they're panhandling for cigarettes," said Willard. "They're panhandling for those things that we as a society don't provide for your basic needs, and I think people need to understand that."

manchester police chief nick willard
Manchester, NH Police Chief Nick Willard. (WBZ-TV)

Willard previously wrote a letter to the community saying donations are better directed to agencies that deal with homelessness, mental illness and addiction.

Police are suggesting that, instead of giving money to panhandlers, people give to their favorite charity--and the signs list the phone numbers of three local charities.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports

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